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Aisle be back: The NPC Final win

Representative Rugby | 01 November 2017 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle be back: The NPC Final win

I'm seen a few crazy games at the stadium over the decades, but I think none will ever match the Lions' championship-clinching victory.

40-all at fulltime, then three extra time tries, including a classic insano-Savea to cap it off.

There really must be something in the DNA of the turf, because as any Wellington follower can attest, there's no province (at Super or NPC level) that can turn from the sublime to the ridiculous so fast.

How many times did you think Wellington were pulling away, only for the stubborn Bay of Plenty boys to haul them in.

How hard would it have been to have lost after all that?

It wasn't even a terrific game. Way too many points leaked on both sides. But what the heck - a win is a win.

Hats off to coach Chris Gibbes. The personnel was different from last year's so-so season, but not wildly so. But the attitude was a million miles better.

RLM

Here's hoping it translates into a serious challenge for the premiership next year - we already know this team on its day can foot it with the big boys.

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The noise around Roger Tuivasa-Scheck swapping codes back to union is the sort of stuff that always sticks in my craw.

I can never work out if it's just spruiking by a league player's agent to get a better deal, or whether it's serious. The agent now denies there’s anything being planned. But smoke, fire, ya know.

Wherever it's coming from, I hate the arrogance of I'm Hoping to Play in the 2019 World Cup. As if it's easy, or that rugby union is short of the odd talented player itself.

By all means give it a crack. But show you're willing to do the hard yards. Brad Thorn did that (famously turning down the first All Black jersey he was offered) and heck, even SBW's done the graft.

Good luck to RTS, who is not actually the source of the rumour mill by the looks of it. He’s focussing on the league world cup. He seems a genuine bloke - and if he turns out to be a union sensation, well, welcome to the greatest code of all.

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Shock horror. Eddie Jones has a secret dossier on the All Blacks, gleaned from his players who were on the Lions tour.

I'm not sure this is news. Every side has a dossier on their opposition.

Regardless, it struck me that while the intel of players who have actually faced the All Blacks - including who are the weaker links - will be useful as Eddie plots a 2018/2019 triumph, you have to wonder how valuable it will be two years from now.

After all, how many of the 2017 Lions All Blacks will actually be in Japan. And how much will the international game have evolved by then?

And finally, what's with the fixation on beating the All Blacks, and the mythical 20 per cent gap Eddie has to close.

That's a good way to slip on a French or South African banana skin in the quarters or semis. Just ask the All Blacks.

 

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